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The Benefits of Journaling For Writers By Susan Day


Journaling is the process of writing down your thoughts, ideas and plans. Some journals take the form of sketches and drawings, other words and images; some all of these things and more.
The truth is a journal can be anything you want it to be. It can be a leather bound book, an unlined notepad or the back of an old envelope. The journal itself is not important. What is important is learning how to utilize the process of journaling to enhance your writing skills.
When you write you allow your mind to let go of many things which block it from working openly. This can cause stress and even unhappiness. By jotting down your ideas, you will free your mind and make room for the development of your latest piece.
When you begin journaling don’t get worried if you are not producing anything of worth. In fact, start by describing what you had for lunch, or write down what you need to do on the weekend. Once the things causing blocks have been ‘removed’ you’ll find your mind is clearer, and other ideas will be begin to flow.


Journal out your plot
A journal is a great place to work out what is going to happen in your book.  You can give yourself the freedom to discuss what the characters are going to do, and when.
It’s a great place to sound out ideas and explain why you are going to set your book in a particular time or place. It doesn’t matter that no one is going to read it. What does matter is that you have given your mind space to plan and be creative.


Start a discussion with your characters
Get to know your characters really well by writing a dialogue in your journal between them. If you have two characters who don’t meet or are at loggerheads why not put them in a cafĂ© and create a conversation between them.
What would they say to each other if given the chance? How would they react? What does this reveal about their true natures? Can you improve add this to your book to create better characters? Is there anything you need to change or modify?


Write a letter to someone about your book
Writers work alone, and unless you live with another writer it is often hard to find someone who will listen to your ideas. Let’s face it, not many people understand the writing process or what’s going on in your head.
Write a letter to someone in your journal. It could be a fictional charter or someone you know and respect. You could write to your favorite star, explaining why they would be great in the lead when your book is made into a movie.
Have fun and remember that the process of writing to someone will help you gain clarity about why you write, and in which direction you should take your book.


Dealing with writer’s block
Journaling is a great way to deal with writer’s block because you become very good at writing down the first things that come into your head.
You may not be able to choose which direction to take your characters in. If this is the case, open up your journal and write what you can see out of the window, - anything at all. This will help free your mind of blocks. Once you start writing about unimportant things you’ll end up writing about an issue which may be bothering you and causing writer’s block.
Using a journal to be a better writer is a great way to enhance your skills, and improve the depth of your book.